EMC name changing to “Media Arts”

Media Arts banner

The Department of Electronic Media Communication (EMC) is changing its name to Media Arts. The new name goes into effect in July, so we are putting the word out now.

The world has changed

The world and the department have changed a lot since Electronic Media Communication became the department’s name. Among other things, a year and a half ago the Multimedia Journalism program and its 170 students were moved from EMC to the School of Journalism, leaving the EMC and its five remaining programs with a much clearer focus on media arts.

Also a year and a half ago, the College changed its name from the College of Mass Communication to the College of Media and Entertainment. Three quarters of the students in the College are studying entertainment-oriented topics, and the whole College deals with media. Mass Communication is no longer the driving force in the industry. A name change was necessary. “College of Media and Entertainment” is more accurate and descriptive.

The electronic anachronism

During this same period, the EMC Department dropped the word “Electronic” from three of its program names to update and better reflect the nature of those programs, and to be better understood by prospective students and the industries served.

Amid all of this change, it became increasingly clear that the name Electronic Media Communication was past its prime. The word “electronic” is suggestive of a past era, and the name is not readily understood by key constituencies. The full name is so long that “EMC” has become the default name of the department. Unfortunately the name “EMC” has no meaning outside of the university community.

The search for a new name

The EMC faculty explored options for new names for two years and finally settled on “Media Arts.” A survey conducted by the department found 52 universities around the United States using “Media Arts” as the name or part of the name for programs. The survey also showed that a majority of those programs included studies that align closely with those in the EMC department.

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive when we have asked current and prospective students, their parents, and people working in our industries what they thought about the name Media Arts. It has been clear that we found a better name that people understand, is succinct, and accurately reflects the department’s programs. We also believe the words “media” and “arts” will stand the test of time much better than words like “electronic” and “digital.”

The gauntlet of approvals

To make the change, “Media Arts” was approved by the department faculty, the Dean of the College, the College Curriculum Committee, the University Curriculum Committee, the Provost, the University President, the Tennessee Board of Regents, and finally the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Long live Media Arts!

A brief history of the Radio-TV/Photography, Electronic Media Communication, Media Arts Department


1962 – Photography begins being taught at MTSU by Professor Harold Baldwin.

1971 – Mass Communication classes begin at MTSU.

1988 – The Mass Communication Department becomes the School of Mass Communication.

1988 – The Department of Radio-TV/Photography (RATV) is formed from Radio, TV, and Photography programs. The new department has emphases in four areas:

  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Broadcast Production
  • Broadcast Management
  • Photography

1988 – A student cable television station was started in the Department of Radio-TV/Photography. Now known as MT10.

1989 – The Mass Communication Department becomes the College of Mass Communication.

1991 – The College of Mass Communication moves into the newly built John Bragg Mass Communication Building.

1991 – The Mobile Production Lab (MPL, also known as “the truck”) goes into service for the Department of Radio-TV/Photography for the next 20 years.

1992 – Digital Animation and Imaging sequence developed by Professor Marc Barr is added to the Department of Radio-TV/Photography. This is the first program of its type in the TBR and the region.

1993 – WNAR (We Need A Radio) student radio station started. Now known as WMTS.

1994-95 – WNAR changes call letters to WMTS.

2000 – Digital Media Communication sequence developed in the Department of Radio-TV/Photography. Later changes name to New Media Communication, and will change again in Fall 2017 to Interactive Media.

2001 – The Department of Radio-TV/Photography changes its name to Electronic Media Communication.

2011, Fall – A new HD Mobile Production Lab (MPL) goes into service in the Department of Electronic Media Communication. The new truck begins a legacy of an average of about thirty live productions manned exclusively by student crews each fall and spring semester.

2011 – EMC Productions is organized as a quasi-professional varsity team for live television production with Dr. Dennis Oneal as Executive Producer. A contract is signed with MTSU Athletics for EMC Productions to produce live broadcasts of football and basketball games. Many of the live broadcasts are aired on ESPN3.

2013 – EMC FIRST LOOK is launched as an annual showcase of the best student work from the past year at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville.

2013, Spring – The Blue Spark Awards are born as an evolution of the SMARTI Awards, a media arts competition for Tennessee high school media arts students.

2014, January – The Baldwin Photographic Gallery opens in its new location funded by a gift from former Photography professor, Harold Baldwin. The first exhibit in the new space is Jerry Uelsman and Maggie Taylor. The opening coincides with the 50th anniversary of the gallery.

2015, Spring – The Photography program moves into newly remodeled facilities in the McFarland Building. The new facilities give the program space to modernize and install significant new digital facilities and more.

2015, Fall – Multimedia Journalism is moved from the EMC Department to the School of Journalism. 170 students and three faculty move with the program.

2015, Fall – The College name is changed from The College of Mass Communication to The College of Media and Entertainment.

2015, Fall – EMC receives approval to proceed with changing the name of the department.

2015, Fall – The EMC department receives approval to terminate its accreditation by ACEJMC, a journalism-focused accreditation body and establish alternate accreditation. This enables important new possibilities for the department’s students – including minors within the College.

2016, Fall – Animation becomes a freestanding B.S. degree and establishes a formal minor in Animation.

July 2017 – Media Arts becomes the new name of the Electronic Media Communication department.

2017, Fall – Several important changes take place in the department:

  • Video and Film Production becomes a freestanding B.S. degree.
  • Interactive Media changes its name from New Media Communication and becomes a freestanding B.S. degree.
  • Media Arts is expecting to launch formal minors for four more programs (pending board approval): Video & Film Production, Interactive Media, Photography, and Media Management.